UFC 254 might just feature the biggest fight of the year, and it certainly seems to be a main event with a ton of intrigue. Champ Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) walks in having conquered every challenge thrown at him in the octagon, a perfect record, and a goal of making it to 30-0. Standing in his way is one of the best strikers in the game, Justin Gaethje (22-2) who dazzles on the feet and possesses much more than a punchers chance of becoming the undisputed champ. UFC 254 will see a belt unified to have one champ for one of the most competitive divisions in the sport. Who walks out the champ?
UFC 254 Main Event: In The End, Khabib Takes It
As stated above, Gaethje has more than a punchers chance here. For him to have a shot at stopping the unstoppable, he has to keep the fight in the center of the cage and keep away from the fence. He will lose this fight letting Khabib circle around and drive him at the cage. Throw a few lead legs kicks at the beginning of the fight, just to keep him honest, and change levels while striking. Kahbib tends to lead with his chin when shooting in, so take advantage of that. If he catches him, don't get overly excited and rush in for the kill. Khabib wants this fight on the ground and walking into his trap, even if stunned, is a disadvantage.
For Khabib to leave UFC 254 29-0, it is simple: smother Gaethje. Don't let him breathe, take him down, and press him on the cage. Tire his arms out, and go for the kill when he gets exhausted. Just like his fight against Conor McGregor, by round 2-3 of the fight, he will look like he wants to be anywhere else in the world besides that cage. I do see him being able to get Gaethje down, and once that happens, it will be the Khabib show. DO I think he finishes him? hard to say, but I think he takes him into the Championship rounds and scores a decisive five-round decision to move to 29-0 and some kind of super fight. Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov by five-round decision.
UFC 254 airs live today starting at Noon EST for the prelims, with the main card starting at 2 pm EST on ESPN+ PPV.